Pheidole nitella

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Pheidole nitella
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Attini
Genus: Pheidole
Species: P. nitella
Binomial name
Pheidole nitella
Wilson, 2003

Pheidole nitella inbiocri001282703 p 1 high.jpg

Specimen Label

A rainforest dweller, P. nitella nests in small cavities variously in dead and live wood, on the forest floor and in the low arboreal zone (Longino 1997; Stefan Cover and E. O. Wilson, unpublished notes). A seed cache was found in one nest at La Selva Biological Station, near Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica. (Wilson 2003)


See the description in the nomenclature section.

Keys including this Species


Occurs on the Atlantic slope of Costa Rica at 300–1000 m (Longino 1997); Chocó, Colombia, 760 m; and is widespread in montane and Amazonian Ecuador; a single collection originates from near Belém, Pará, Brazil. (Wilson 2003)

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Neotropical Region: Belize, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica (type locality), Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Peru.

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb






The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's Online Catalogue of the Ants of the World.

  • nitella. Pheidole nitella Wilson, 2003: 473, figs. (s.w.) COSTA RICA.

Unless otherwise noted the text for the remainder of this section is reported from the publication that includes the original description.


DIAGNOSIS Similar in various traits to Pheidole exquisita, Pheidole christopherseni, Pheidole nigricula, Pheidole olsoni, Pheidole protensa, Pheidole pygmaea and Pheidole sagittaria, and distinguished as follows.

Major: yellow; head elongate; eyes set well forward, so that their distance from anterior of head is only a little less than eye Length; propodeal spines reduced to obtuse angles; carinulae extend on head only slightly beyond eyes and are rudimentary on frontal lobes, and rest of body is entirely smooth and shiny.

Minor: eye very large, oval (not tapered), and set far forward on head; propodeum reduced to denticles; occiput broad and weakly concave.

Differs from the closely similar Pheidole exquisita of Ecuador in size, head shape, and details of cephalic sculpture, eye shape, and minor scape length.

MEASUREMENTS (mm) Holotype major: HW 0.58, HL 0.66, SL 0.32, EL 0.10, PW 0.30. Paratype minor: HW 0.34, HL 0.34, SL 0.26, EL 0.06, PW 0.22.

COLOR Major and minor: concolorous medium yellow.

Pheidole nitella Wilson 2003.jpg

Figure. Upper: holotype, major. Lower: paratype, minor. Scale bars = 1 mm.

Type Material

COSTA RICA: La Selva Biological Station, near Puerto Viejo, Heredia, col. Stefan Cover. Museum of Comparative Zoology


L nitella, bright, splendid.


References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Calcaterra L. A., F. Cuezzo, S. M. Cabrera, and J. A. Briano. 2010. Ground ant diversity (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in the Ibera nature reserve, the largest wetland of Argentina. Ann. Entomol. Soc. Am. 103(1): 71-83.
  • Fernández, F. and S. Sendoya. 2004. Lista de las hormigas neotropicales. Biota Colombiana Volume 5, Number 1.
  • LaPolla, J.S. and S.P. Cover. 2005. New species of Pheidole (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) from Guyana, with a list of species known from the country. Tranactions of the American Entomological Society 131(3-4):365-374
  • Longino J. T. L., and M. G. Branstetter. 2018. The truncated bell: an enigmatic but pervasive elevational diversity pattern in Middle American ants. Ecography 41: 1-12.
  • Longino J. T., J. Coddington, and R. K. Colwell. 2002. The ant fauna of a tropical rain forest: estimating species richness three different ways. Ecology 83: 689-702.
  • Longino J. T., and R. K. Colwell. 2011. Density compensation, species composition, and richness of ants on a neotropical elevational gradient. Ecosphere 2(3): 16pp.
  • Longino J. et al. ADMAC project. Accessed on March 24th 2017 at